This incident happened less than a month ago when we moved to Sweden for our second semester in Lund University. I am staying in a corridor room in one of the university accommodations, the only one from IMFSE staying here. It was just my second night here in Lund when a very loud familiar sound broke the silence of the midnight.
For some unknown reason, the fire alarm turned on. Everyone in the corridor was almost asleep when we heard it so we peeked out of the door and looked at each other puzzled. As an FSE student, I tried to look for the source in the kitchen and the fire extinguisher to stop the fire if there is any at its growth stage. But there was none. So, we asked each other if this is just a drill or a real fire scenario and it took us a long time to actually evacuate outside the building. After about 15 minutes out in the cold only wearing pajamas (around 25 minutes after the alarm started), actual firefighters came in to our surprise. THIS MUST BE SOMETHING REAL. They checked the rooms and gave us an assurance that we are fire-safe.
Firefighters to the rescue!
This is when I saw the different things we discuss in our Human Behavior in Fire subject. First is misinterpretation. A lot misinterpreted the alarm and that is the reason for the long time before evacuation and for some who did not even bother to go out. Second is investment. Some did not evacuate because they are so invested in the activity that they are doing. One even went inside the shower to take a bath. Third is gathering of important items. There are some who went back to take a jacket and put shoes on. One was carrying a cup of tea. Most importantly, the event also validated the thing we discussed about competitive behavior and panic, that they are just myths in a fire evacuation and despite being in such a situation, everyone remained calm.
However, apart from applying what I learned from our HBiF subject, I learned a deeper realization. Most people would still take for granted the sound of an alarm, that they are still not knowledgeable enough of proper evacuation. I cannot know for sure if they will still act that way if they saw an actual fire. But I can say that we still have a long way to go to educate people about fire safety.
Fortunately, everything went fine. It was a chance to meet each other for the first time, haha! With the quick response of the firefighters, I can say that Lund takes fire safety seriously. The university is also giving us interesting lectures not just about fire but also about human behavior. After all, the main goal of FSE is to save lives. Luckily for me, I got some hands-on experience from this incident. In terms of fire safety education, Lund is indeed one of the best places to be.